The Christ University in Bangalore (now Bengaluru), an educational institution with nearly 50 years of history, is one of the top-ranked universities in India with students of different nationalities. However, the prestigious UGC-recognised, deemed private university has been hitting the headlines since Saturday, July 26, for all the wrong reasons.
From issues concerning attendance to dress code and to alleged sexual harrasment incidents, several students of Christ University have been raising their voice against the institution, which has three campuses in Bangalore -- the main campus on Hosur road, Kengeri (Engineering and Management), and the recently opened, Bannerghatta (BGR) campus (School of Business Studies and Social Sciences).
Why the students of Christ University conducted a silent protest in BGR campus?
Almost 250 students were part of a silent protest wearing black attires and standing at the quadrangle of the Bannerghatta Road Campus. The protest was apparently organised because a faculty member, Thejas, of the Economics department, was asked to resign for supporting the students.
It is understood that the professor was reportedly sacked for refusing to reduce the attendance of students who do not adhere to the dress code of the institution. According to the students, the new campus of the institution, which started functioning in June 2016, has stricter rules than those on the main campus on Hosur road.
An anonymous post on the incident published on the website, Youth Ki Awaaz, has gone viral on social media along with various other anonymous posts published on Quora.
The issues raised by the students include:
1. As per University Grants Commission (UGC), colleges are asked to follow a marking scheme in which 60% evaluation is based on class assignments and 40% on written examination. However, in the new campus, 70% evaluation is for internal assessment and just 30% for examination. Therefore, it is said that the students who want to pursue for higher studies will be forced to do the post graduation in the same institution.
2. Dress code: The management students are always asked to be dressed formally, and girls are not allowed to enter the campus wearing jeans or leggings. Even though the strict dress code is not forced in other departments, the economics students of Bannerghatta campus are asked to follow the similar dress code.
3. Attendance: Students who have attendance less than 85% are not allowed to write examinations. They will have to pay a fine if their attendance is between 75%-85%. Students will be expelled if their total attendance is less than 75%. However, the rules seem to be different in the Bannerghatta campus as the students allege that those who come late to the college are forced to meet the authorities explaining the reason for coming late. Not just that, some claim that they are not allowed to attend the other classes as well, which brings down their attendance to less than 85%.
Meanwhile, the students also questioned university authorities as to why they have to pay a huge sum as fees when they are not provided with necessary facilities like a library, auditorium, computer lab or a play ground in the new campus. Sources close to the university have told International Business Times, India, that during a meeting with the students on Monday, August 1, the authorities convinced them that the university is running as per the guidelines of the UGC and that they will be provided with a well-equipped library in the second week of August. The students are said to be satisfied with the latest meeting, though they are unhappy with the resignation of Assistant Professor Thejas, who has worked in the institution for eight months. However, when IBTimes India contacted the officials, they didn't open up on the matters discussed during the meeting.
Another anonymous post published on Youth Ki Awaaz, surfaced online on August 1, suggesting various sexual harrasment incidents a few students had to face during their academic years in Christ University. The post accuses a "powerful figure in the Christ administration" as well as a professor in the English Department, who is alleged to have flirted with a student.
A student's blog post "Dear Christ University, I Cannot Fly"
It was on July 26 that a student named Sumedha Biswas had published her blog post against the college authorities for conducting classes on a strike day, when public transportation was not available. The students could not attend classes due to the strike.